Exhibition

BENTWOOD AND BEYOND

Thonet and Modern Furniture Design

Wed, 18.12.2019–Mon, 13.04.2020

MAK – Museum of Applied Arts

To commemorate Thonet’s 200th anniversary, the MAK is presenting a major exhibition on modern furniture, in which the signature bentwood furniture of the world famous company is placed in the context of contemporary technological, typological, aesthetic, and historical developments. Thonet’s bentwood chairs are compared with chairs made of tubular steel and plastic as well as with classic office chairs and avant-garde furniture experiments.   
 
In 1842, the German joiner Michael Thonet moved to Vienna to perfect the bentwood furniture he had developed and to found the largest furniture empire of the 19th century. With chair No. 14, produced from 1859, the company not only created one of the world’s best-selling pieces of furniture, but also an undisputed design classic. The exhibition at the MAK shows the central importance of the Thonet company for modern furniture design and, in addition to the company’s history, also tells about the stages in the development of bentwood technology, from artisan production to industrial series production.

The MAK holds one of the world’s most important collections of bentwood furniture, which is supplemented in the exhibition by excellent international loans. The approximately 240 exhibits are each placed in comparison groups, in which several objects face each other. In this way not only material technological steps in the development, but also typological parallels and iconographic affinities become visible.
The typical aesthetics and perfect shape of the Thonet furniture have repeatedly served as a source of inspiration for contemporary artists—for example, the exhibition includes works by Birgit Jürgenssen, Bruno Gironcoli, Ineke Hans, Rolf Sachs, Uta Belina Waeger, and Markus Wilfling, who deal with the bentwood furniture from an artistic perspective. 

Guest Curator: Wolfgang Thillmann
Curator: Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Curator, MAK Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Opening

Tue, 17 Dec 2019
Free admission to the opening
Facebook Event

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalog BENTWOOD AND BEYOND: Thonet and Modern Furniture Design (MAK Studies 28) by Sebastian Hackenschmidt and Wolfgang Thillmann, edited by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein and Sebastian Hackenschmidt. German/English, ca. 304 pages with numerous color illustrations. MAK, Vienna/Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2020. Available at the MAK Design Shop as of mid december and online at MAKdesignshop.at for € 49.95.

Program (16 Events)

Tue, 17.12.2019 7.00 pm
Exhibition Opening

BENTWOOD AND BEYOND

Thu, 19.12.2019 4.30 pm

Dialog Tour BENTWOOD AND BEYOND

With Sebastian Hackenschmidt & Wolfgang Thillmann
Sat, 11.01.2020 2.00 pm 4.00 pm
MAK4FAMILY
Workshop for the whole family

Was hat 4 Beine und 2 Arme?

Was hat 4 Beine und 2 Arme?
Bentwood! How does it work, what is it, and why does it look so good? Come with us to Chairville and pick your favorite chair. We discuss why a chair does not always have to be comfortable and how seating has changed over time. After the tour, you can make your own model and show what you can do. Workshop for the whole family (ages 4+) in context of the exhibition BENTWOOD AND BEYOND.

THE FORMAT MAK4FAMILY

Every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month (except July, August, and December) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the MAK hosts a workshop and guided tour for the whole family (aged 4+).

PRACTICAL INFO

Workshop and guided tour for the whole family (ages 4 and older)
Fee for materials: € 4.50 per child (with free admission)
Reduced admission for accompanying adults

Meeting place: MAK Columned Main Hall
1459977554986
Wed, 15.01.2020 3.00 pm
WEDNESDAYS at the MAK

BENTWOOD AND BEYOND

BENTWOOD AND BEYOND

The Exhibition

On the occasion of the 200-year anniversary of the company Thonet, the MAK presents an extensive exhibition on Modern furniture. In 1842, the German cabinetmaker Michael Thonet moved to Vienna: Here he was able to perfect his own invention of bentwood furniture and found the greatest furniture empire of the 19th century. With the No 14 Chair produced from 1859 onward, the company Thonet created not only one of the so far most sold pieces of furniture in the world but also an unchallenged classic of design. The exhibition at the MAK shows the fundamental importance of the company Thonet for the design of Modern furniture and places its characteristic and world-famous bentwood furniture into the context of contemporary technological, typological, aesthetic, and historical developments.

The Format WEDNESDAYS at the MAK

These dialogue-focused guided tours of the current exhibitions or on collection-specific topics are followed by a deeper conversation at the restaurant Salonplafond im MAK. WEDNESDAYS at the MAK takes place at 3 p.m. on every 3rd Wednesday of the month (except July, August, and December).
 

Practical Info

Guided tour through the exhibition, followed by further discussion at the restaurant Salonplafond im MAK.
Admission plus attendance fee of € 3.50
Free for holders of the “Hunger auf Kunst und Kultur-Pass”
Meeting point: MAK Columned Main Hall

Further information:
T +43 1 711 36-298
education@MAK.at


1459977553881
Sat, 18.01.2020 2.00 pm 3.00 pm
MINI MAK Tour
Guided tour for the whole family

Alles Sessel – Niederlassen – Platznehmen und Hinsetzen

Alles Sessel – Niederlassen – Platznehmen und Hinsetzen
Guided tour for the whole family (ages 4 and older) through the exhibitions BENTWOOD AND BEYOND and „SITZEN 69“ REVISITED

THE FORMAT MINI MAK Tour

Every 3rd Saturday of the month (except July, August, and December) we introduce children aged 4+ to our museum and new exhibitions via a guided tour.

PRACTICAL INFO

Guided tour for the whole family (ages 4 and older)
Attendance fee: € 3.50 per child (with free admission)
Reduced admission for accompanying adults
Meeting place: MAK Columned Main Hall
1459977554986
+

Sponsors




Media

Gebrüder Thonet, Chair, Model N0. 14, Vienna, 1859 (Execution: 1890–1918)
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Josef Hoffmann, Chair, Model No. 322, for the dining room of the Sanatorium Westend in Purkersdorf, Vienna, 1904
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Josef Hoffmann, Chaise longue, Model No. 670 “Sitting Machine,” Vienna, ca. 1905
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Josef Hoffmann, Armchair, Model No. 729/F, Vienna, ca. 1907
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Hermann Czech, Chair for the MAK restaurant, Vienna, 1993
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Josef Frank, Armchair, Model No. A 403 F, Vienna, ca. 1927
© MAK/Nathan Murrell
Stefan Diez, Chair, Model No. 404, Munich, 2007
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Robert Stadler, Chair, Model No. 107, Vienna, 2011
© MAK/Georg Mayer